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NC State vs. Clemson: The Textile Bowl Preview

NC State Clemson

The Clemson Tigers travel to Carter-Finley Stadium to take on the NC State Wolfpack. The teams have equal records, but the Tigers enter Saturday as 10-point favorites. The total for this match is set at 43.5 and is expected to be a battle of two great ACC defenses. The Textile Bowl rivalry will be a great matchup of two underperforming teams hungry to get back on track.

NC State vs. Clemson: How Does the Wolfpack Win?

NC State needs a lot to go its way if they want to beat Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers. The Wolfpack have only produced 25.4 points per game this season. Clemson’s defense has held opponents to just 20.6 per contest, and the offense seems like the biggest concern for NC State. MJ Morris will take the helm at quarterback. Morris has been mediocre, passing for 458 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions in two games. The Clemson defense will be a daunting task to an offense gaining just 347 total yards per game. Kevin Concepcion will need to have a massive game to keep the Wolfpack in striking distance, and Morris will have to distribute the ball effectively. Turnovers have been killing the Wolfpack as well, so Morris has next to no room to throw interceptions on Saturday.

Thankfully for NC State, there are some positive trends going their way. Dave Doeren is 23-8 off of a bye week in his coaching career. In addition, The Wolfpack have only lost two games in the past two seasons at home. The last time the Wolfpack upset Clemson, the spread was also 10 points in favor of the Tigers. The Wolfpack Defense will have to be elite to beat Clemson. Payton Wilson has dominated the linebacker position, earning mid-season All-American honors. Aydan White will lock down his assignment, but the rest of the secondary needs to step up as well. The Wolfpack only allows 110.9 rushing yards per game, but Will Shipley is an elite runner and will test the team’s limits. In order for NC State to have a chance, the defense will have to create a couple of turnovers and get off the field on third downs, or Clemson will control the game on the ground and on defense.

NC State vs. Clemson: Tigers Need to Pounce on Weak Offense

The Clemson Tigers have also had a disappointing season by their standards and will look to show that they are still a very good football team. Cade Klubnik has been solid as a signal-caller, completing 63.5 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions. The highlight of this Clemson offense is Shipley, who has totaled 594 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns. NC State is a good defense, but the Tigers will assuredly challenge them with a heavy dose of the run game. Tyler Brown and Beaux Collins lead the Clemson receiver core and will be called upon to beat the Wolfpack secondary. Whoever draws White will likely be limited, and the other will be the primary target in the passing game. In order to win, Clemson needs to establish the run. If Clemson can control possession, it will be hard to lose to a weak Wolfpack offense.

On defense, Clemson’s job is simple. The Tigers simply need to prevent explosive plays. The Wolfpack struggles to move the ball downfield or score a lot of points. The secondary trio of Nate Wiggins, Jeramiah Trotter, and Toriano Pride will be very difficult to pass against. The Tigers do need to produce pressure on the quarterback in order to force turnovers. The Tigers also only allow 104 rushing yards per game, so continuing to stop the run will get the ball back to the offense. If The Tigers’ defense continues to play the way they have so far, it will take an offensive meltdown for them to lose.

Game Prediction

While this is the homecoming game for NC State, the crowd will be begging for more entertainment on Saturday afternoon. This game will be a defensive battle, with the winner being the team that controls the ball longer. NC State will prevent the Tigers from scoring, and the Tiger defense will be too much for Morris and the Wolfpack. Points will be at a premium, and there is a very good likelihood of a defensive or special teams score being the difference maker.

Expect NC State’s defense to keep this game close. However, Shipley will do well enough on the ground to control time of possession, and the Wolfpack will fail to score more than 21 points. As long as Clemson can manufacture 21 or more, the Textile Bowl once again ends in a Tiger victory.

Final Score: Clemson 24- NC State 17


NC State Clemson
Photo courtesy: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports


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